Meditation is an ancient practice that is gaining popularity in the Western world. From top ranking sportsmen and performers like Kobe Bryant and Hugh Jackman, to Wall Street traders and high flying entrepreneurs, meditation is an open best kept secret. Now when most people hear meditation, they think of crossing your legs in a position that, no matter how hard you try, you can’t do while sounding like you don’t know how to answer a question. Well for the sake of your joints and appearance of sanity, there’s more to it.
The benefits of meditation are widely known and published, such as increased brain activity and creativity, reduced stress levels, and basically increased happiness and health. So… you know… it’s kinda good.
Here’s a little list of things to get you going:
Beginners – Never meditated
Eat one meal a day in silence
- Doing so will bring your awareness into the now
- Don’t listen to anything, don’t talk to anyone; just sit, eat, watch, and enjoy your meal
- I guarantee your food will actually taste better
Drink one cup of tea per day
- Bring your full awareness into this experience, feeling every mouthful as it goes down
- Open up your senses by smelling the teas’ aroma and by watching the liquid move around your cup
Have a mindfulness shower
- In the shower close your eyes and become aware of your feet. Feel the energy pulsating in and around them
- Then become aware of your hands
- Ask yourself “How do I even know I have hands?”
- Do each foot and hand for ten seconds
Intermediate – Meditated before but still need guidance in their practice
Body awareness before going to sleep
- When lying in your bed before sleep, close your eyes and by starting at the feet feel the energy in your body
- Focus your attention on one particular body part at a time for a count of ten seconds
- Move up from your feet to your head, passing through your knees, thighs, buttocks, hips, chest, back, hands, arms, shoulders, and head
Counting the breath for five minutes
- Find a comfortable chair to sit in with your back straight and feet flat on the floor
- Close your eyes
- Become aware of your feet flat on the floor for thirty seconds, feeling the energy around them
- Notice your breath and begin to count it going in and out – count from one to ten full breaths, then return to one and begin again
- If you are unable to feel your breath, take conscious breaths instead.
- Inhale through the nose with the belly expanding, and exhale through the nose as the belly contracts
Counting Numbers for five minutes
- Take up the same position as when counting the breaths – sitting down
- Close your eyes and count one to one hundred
- As you count in your mind visualise the number been drawn in your minds eye
I have recommended just five minutes to begin with for these practices, over time aim to increase them to about twenty minutes per day. Always set your timer before the practice.
Advanced – If you think you can handle it
The direct method
- Sit down on the floor with you legs crossed, close your eyes, and do nothing
- Aim for twenty minutes
Some notes on how to practice meditation
- You are not trying to stop your thoughts; you are trying to become aware that you are having them.
- When a thought comes let it pass by not becoming attached to it, instead just notice it. This is what is meant by thoughtless awareness.
- The aim of meditation is to give your monkey mind – some headspace, by consciously focusing your attention on something else.
- Meditation can be practiced by anyone, anywhere and anytime. It is a matter of bringing your attention into the now.
- Meditation is about finding what type of practice works best for you. There are a plethora of practices out there, which will be looked at in future articles, however these mentioned above are just some simple ideas to get you started.
Some stuff I’ve found helpful especially for beginners.
- Headspace (App) – Try their ten day free trial, and learn how to meditate from an expert who is bringing meditation to the West, and in particular into our tech world.
- The Power Of Now (Book),by Eckhart Tolle – Learn about being in the moment, and the benefit of conscious awareness and how it improves your life situation.
- Meditations for a New Earth (Audio), Kim Eng – Ten guided meditations that explore how to meditate and the benefit of doing so.
The above resources are what I have personally used throughout my mediation journey. I can’t advocate enough the effect that mediation has had in my life. I went from being in my head, paranoid about what people thought, and a graduate accountant at a big four firm – to a focused individual who lives in the now and whose purpose in life is to inspire others to connect to their True Self. Meditation has revolutionised my life and I have no doubt that it will yours.
[Featured Image by Joshua Earle]